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April 28, 2014

Pasta with fresh peppers and arugula
Posted by Teresa at 09:51 PM * 152 comments

1/4 C. chopped walnuts*
1/4 - 1/3 C. prosciutto or pancetta bits
4-7 large thick-walled bell peppers
4-6 oz. (which is quite a lot!) baby arugula leaves
3-4 C. coarsely grated fresh Parmagiana
1/3 - 1/2 C. heavy cream
12 oz. dried Campanelli pasta (or other pasta as it please you)*
salt, pepper, butter or olive oil

Set water for pasta on to boil. Put some olive oil or a large dollop of butter into a pan and follow it with the walnuts and prosciutto or pancetta. Working quickly, cut bell peppers into coarse chunks, throwing them into the pan as you go. Stir the pan a lot.

Grate the cheese while the peppers are cooking. When the pasta’s ready, drain it or fish it out, and add it to the peppers, which by now should have all lost their cell turgor and be throwing off liquid. Some water will also be contributed by the pasta. That’s good too.

Turn down the fire and stir in the pasta, then start stirring cheese by the handful into the peppers-and-pasta mix. This is where the pepper juice and pasta water come in handy. Add the heavy cream and keep stirring. Adjust seasonings. When the cheese and cream are fully amalgamated, fold in the arugula, or if there’s not room for that, pile it on top of the pasta mixture.

Slap a lid on the whole thing and wait 3-5 minutes, or however long it takes for the arugula to start wilting. Fold or stir until the arugula is mixed into the whole, but no further. Adjust the seasoning again.

Serve and eat — ideally, without any further delay. Feeds four energetic young persons, or six staid older ones.

This makes a great, fresh-tasting, generously cheesy pasta dish that’s neither cooked nor sauced beyond what’s strictly necessary. The pepper chunks still have some tooth, the arugula leaves will still be recognizable, and slightly bitter greens cooked with a little heavy cream are a magic combination. The leftovers pack well for lunch the next day.

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Comments on Pasta with fresh peppers and arugula:
#1 ::: Beth Tanner ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 10:12 PM:

That sounds absolutely delicious - I shall have to make it soon!

#2 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 10:17 PM:

Is that three to four cups of grated cheese? Or three-quarters of a cup?

#3 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 10:23 PM:

If I don't like nuts, can I omit them entirely?

If I want to feed only two people, can I just divide everything by three, or do proportions need adjusting? (This is one of my big problems with recipes.)

(Also, isn't it "pancetta" with no h?)

#4 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 10:32 PM:

Om nom nom. That's going in my "to try" pile.

I have recently learned with considerable pleasure how to make sweet potato gnocchi: Mash up a baked sweet potato. Gradually add flour until you have a workable dough; you may include a modest amount of salt, pepper and sage an it please you. Roll into snakes about the thickness of your finger. Slice the snakes into chunks.

Drop the gnocchi into boiling water and let them boil till they float, then about 30 secs. longer; fish them out of the water and saute them lightly in some butter. Serve with blanched kale (which you can blanch in the same pot of water after you fish the gnocchi out of it, while the gnocchi are in the pan with the butter). If you have more than you need, freeze the extra gnocchi by laying them on a cookie sheet; once frozen, put them in a sealable container and they won't stick together.

I'm told that if the dough doesn't come together well, you can add a thoroughly beaten egg and that will fix it; I have never had to resort to this. I use King Arthur whole wheat flour, but as far as I know white flour will work too.

This may sound like a fair amount of work, but (a) I tend to bake a few sweet potatoes while cooking something else at around the right temperature (400 degrees F), then mash them up and make gnocchi the next night; and (b) I usually make enough for 2 or 3 dinners, which for the two of us takes about three medium or two large sweet potatoes. The frozen gnocchi take only a few minutes to cook, so there's a quick "too tired to cook" dinner all lined up.

#5 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 10:50 PM:

I just looked at a recipe for cacio e pepe, which is pasta with cheese and black pepper (and cream), and it calls for 6 ounces of pecorino Romano - about 3 cups. For a pound of pasta.

#6 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 10:57 PM:

I think my Amazing Girlfriend and I will need to make this or a close cousin soon.

#7 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 10:58 PM:

This was cheap before I lost my job; I just brought home the damaged and outdated packages of smoked salmon. You might try it with regular canned salmon, tuna, or even mackerel.


Put a pot of rice (white, brown, and/or wild) on to cook, or cook some whole wheat and/or white pasta, or bake and split some potatoes.

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Mince 1 medium yellow onion and cook it in the butter. Throw in 2 smashed or minced cloves garlic, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder, and cook until fragrant. Now make a white sauce in the same pan using 2 cups milk or cream of whatever fat content you prefer and your thickener of choice; you can use whole wheat flour if you like. When the sauce has thickened, stir in 1/2 cup of that pale yellow cheese that comes in a shaker, preferably labeled "Romano." Stir in 10 oz. flaked shelf-stable smoked salmon, and make sure it's wild-caught, not that mushy-cardboard farmed stuff. You may also stir in up to 1 1/2 cups total cooked or canned vegetable(s) of choice, such as mushroom stems and pieces, broccoli florets, diced celery, etc. Ladle the warm sauce over the rice, pasta, or potatoes and serve with more vegetables or some fruit.

#8 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 11:30 PM:

Wish I'd had that recipe last week :-) Local veggie market had a pound of arugula for $1.50, and we had a week or more of salads before tossing the remaining third or so of it. It's good, but as you say, 4-6oz is a LOT of the stuff, and cooking it would have reduced the volume considerably.

#9 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 11:43 PM:

This sounds wonderful, as does the salmon.

But damn, I have to watch the amount of salt and cream. Cheese is a seasoning now.

Bummed . . .

#10 ::: Tam ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 12:02 AM:

Thank you for this. There's nothing but arugula in the garden just now, and it wants more picking than I've had recipes. (I'll have to swap out the walnuts for pecans but I don't imagine that'll change the taste too much.)

#11 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 12:10 AM:

Here's one I just tried this weekend - I had a Costco package of pre-cut butternut squash, and wanted to try something besides my usual butternut pasta sauce. I browsed through Epicurious and ended up with this Chilean squash and bean stew which was incredibly easy, very hearty, delicious, and looks to be very forgiving on proportions and variations.

Porotos Granados

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
A handful of oregano or marjoram, chopped
3 1/2 ounces/100g small dried beans, such as pinto, navy, or cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water, or 1 (14-ounce/400g) can beans, drained and well rinsed
1 quart/liter vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pounds/750g squash, such as butternut or red kuri, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch/2cm chunks
7 ounces/200g green beans, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch/2cm pieces
Kernels cut from 2 cobs of corn
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté gently for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add the paprika and 1 tablespoon of the oregano. Cook for another minute.

If using dried beans, drain them after soaking and add to the pan with the stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the beans are completely tender (dried beans vary, and sometimes this may take over an hour). Add the squash, stir well, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the squash is just tender, then add the green beans and corn kernels and simmer for another 5 minutes.

If using canned beans, add the drained, rinsed beans, the squash, bay leaf, and stock at the same time, and simmer until the squash is just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Then add the green beans and corn kernels and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

To finish, season well—I use about 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Stir in the remaining oregano, leave to settle for a couple of minutes, then serve.

#12 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 12:18 AM:

My addendum to the above recipe got wiped out somehow: I ended up making it using a 2 pound package of squash, 2 cans of white beans, around 1 cup each (fistful) of frozen green beans and corn, and twice the sweet paprika, because paprika! It was great. The recipe should probably say to cut down the stock if you're using canned beans, otherwise it comes out more of a soup, but it cooks down well. Definitely an even-better-the-second-day dish, too.

#13 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 12:21 AM:

Lila@4: "I have recently learned with considerable pleasure how to make sweet potato gnocchi."

Also works with baked butternut squash. Also works with roasted beets (the dough is the most amazing color).

Probably works with all sorts of root vegetables. Will have to try with parsnips. Parsnips are magic.

Oh, I will have to try it with bananas. Banana gnocchi with browned butter and brown sugar. Ding!

#14 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 12:53 AM:

Sweet potato gnocchi and Porotos Granados sound very do-able and salt/fat reasonable.

@Lila: What kind of sauces have you tried with the sweet potato gnocchi?

#15 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:33 AM:

@Stefan Jones no. 9: I'm sorry, upon rereading I realized that I left out a word. You make the white sauce using _only_ the melted butter, milk or cream, and thickener. No salt is added to the recipe. It's just as good with skim milk as it is with rich milk. Now, there is the matter of the butter and of course the salmon and the cheese are both salty.

#16 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:01 AM:

These all look tasty, although I'm going to have to leave out the pork products.

One thing I used to back in the day was make a basic white-sauce-with-a-lot-of-cheese (usually a mix of grated parmagiana and gruyère, with a little bit of very mature cheddar) and stir in big chunks of smoked salmon just before serving over pasta.

Then I decided that I didn't need to eat something that probably had a few thousand calories just looking at it, so I don't do it very often.

#17 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:42 AM:

One thing I sometimes make (darn, need to make it again, soon) is "rårakor", it is a variant on friend potato.

Start by heating a frying pan, with a knob of butter in it.

Continue by shredding potato. You want thin, long, strips, about 1 - 1.5 mm wide. Quickly stir in some black pepper (finely ground), a pinch of salt and egg. You need to be quick, so the liquid in the potato doesn't seep out. Put the mixture in the frying pan. Flatten it out until it's about 5 mm thick. Fry until the top side is dry, flip over and fry for about 1/3 of the time on the other side.

Serve immediately. If you want to be Really Traditional, it should be served with caviar, sour cream, and either (or both) of chives and/or chopped onion.

#18 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:43 AM:

[looks at flab]

great: just what I need. Another must eat, delicious recipe involving double cream :)

#19 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:23 AM:

Stefan Jones: brown butter and sage, applied to both the gnocchi and the kale.

I've also tried it with a bit of shaved parmesan. Both were equally good.

#20 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:34 AM:

Pericat, #2: Teresa meant three to four cups of freshly-grated parmesan, not 3/4 of a cup. We're talking coarse grating here--it's meant to melt--so it's a lot less actual cheese than three or four cups of the kind of finely-grated cheese meant to be sprinkled on pasta after it's served.

A general comment: One of the tricks of this recipe is getting it off the heat just as the arugula begins to wilt. In the dish as served, the arugula should look much more like salad leaves than like cooked spinach.

P J Evans, #5: Cacio e pepe done right is ambrosial. I pursued a minor Mission from God in Italy last month, ordering it in several different places. The best was at Osteria da Fortunata, a new-ish fresh-pasta place recommended to us by Ada Palmer. Just off the northwest corner of the Campo di' Fiori in Rome.

David Goldfarb, #3 -- Spelling of "pancetta" fixed. Thanks!

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 09:09 AM:

Ingvar M #17: Potatoes are our friends?

#22 ::: Nadya Duke ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:47 AM:

Oh! This has two of my favorite foods: walnuts and arugula. And I like everything else in it as well. I think I could eat this whole thing by myself, and perhaps I shall.

#23 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:06 PM:

I shall note for non-US readers that arugula is also known as rocket (botanically eruca sativa)

Unfortunately I am cooking for one, and trying to lose weight.

#24 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:39 PM:

Arugala, arugala, arugala, arugala... (repeat and continue throughout)

In the Village, in Greenwich Village, the yuppies eat tonight...
In the Village, in Greenwich Village, the yuppies eat tonight...

Ra-DEEEEE, dee dee dee dee, dee dee dichio!

#25 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:14 PM:

Nadya Duke @22

If you like arugula and walnuts, you might also like Teresa's walnut and arugula pesto recipe, which she posted here a few years back.

(I'm now waiting for someone to turn up claiming that science fiction has been ruined ever since Tor took it upon itself to start promoting a pro-arugula and walnut agenda, and insisting that they are okay with vegetables in pasta sauce provided they're there for a reason.)

I mean, I don't normally engage in rhetorical questions, but can anyone point me to any categorical statements from people associated with Tor that they're against arugula?

#26 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:19 PM:

You can find the walnut and arugula pesto recipe, and indeed all the recipe posts on Making Light that we can remember through the calorie haze, on the "Making Light recipe index" link at the bottom of the OP.

#27 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:28 PM:

No, but I've used greens that included arugula on pizza. (They don't do that well. Kale is actually better.)

#28 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:54 PM:

Patrick, thanks! It's a big difference, so wanted to be sure I was reading correctly. This looks really good.

#29 ::: praisegod barebones has left a bracket wandering in the wild ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:05 PM:

PJ Evans @ 27:

Two of my favourite pizzas (made at home) involve arugula. One uses Teresa's arugula pesto in place of tomato; the other involves tomato, goats cheese and arugula. It can be tricky to avoid over-cooking the arugula, though.

#31 ::: praisegod barebones' bracket has returned. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:11 PM:

Thanks to Cassy B.

My apologies to all and sundry.

#32 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:26 PM:

Praisegod Barebones, I shouldn't read recipe descriptions when tired. I thought for a minute that your pizza included tomatoes, goats, cheese, and pizza. I started wondering where one bought goat meat...

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:36 PM:

If I were looking for goat, I'd start with a carnicería (cabrito would be the label).

#34 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:48 PM:

Cassy, today I saw "Halal Bone-In Goat Cubes" advertised in the ShopRite. While it seemed odd that the meat could be cubed with the bone still in, I did not look, because I didn't want to know.

#35 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:51 PM:

Praisegod Barebones @25 ...okay with vegetables in pasta sauce provided they're there for a reason...

Well sure. I mean chopped onions, carrots and celery go in without saying. If you're putting in something else, thats fine if the dish requires it, but don't do it just to make a culinary point.

#36 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:04 PM:

P J Evans #27 & praisegod barebones #29:

I have used uncooked arugula (or rocket as I know it) on pizza with some success. I add the arugula after the pizza is removed from the oven; the heat from the pizza wilts it some but not enough to turn it into a soggy mess.

#37 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:05 PM:

Oh my. We've not only sold our birthright for a pot of message, it's a pasta pot.

Since it's feminist message pasta, I assume it needs a pink sauce. Mmm, pink sauce.

The Daysies can eat the blue sauce. I'll send flowers to the funeral.

#38 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:10 PM:

Cassy @ #32, there's a great little Caribbean restaurant within walking distance of elise's place that does an awesome goat curry...

(Dammit, now I'm all hungry. Oh well, dinner's almost ready. Beans & rice with sausage, corn on the cob, and steamed kale, with fresh-picked strawberries for dessert.)

#39 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:20 PM:

It wilts in the oven, and parts of it get crispy-crunchy. (Which is kind of fun.) It's just that it has so little body that it doesn't work as well even as spinach. (I do pizza with greens and mushrooms, and of course cheese.)

#40 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:47 PM:

My culinary adventures are far less ambitious (or structured) than the above, but last weekend I actually cooked dinner for a friend (and myself), for the first time in many years. (So please forgive my humble boasting. :-) )

It was a basic stir fry, roughly as follows: 4 kinds of mushrooms were the driver (the last of my baby bellas from the supermarket, a shitake from the freezer, oyster mushrooms just bought at the farmer's market, and king mushrooms¹ bought at the Asian market), some baby bok choy (ditto), bamboo sprouts from a packet (ditto), fresh tofu (ditto), red peppers (what I could salvage from mold) carrots, onions, garlic. Also a cube or two of my frozen mirepoix, which itself included mushrooms and parsley as well as the usual trinity.

Sauce and spices included powdered ginger, epazote², paprika and turmeric, celery seeds (because I didn't have celery), soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, mirin sauce³, rice vinegar (because the black vinegar was more sweet than tart), and for deglazing, some of the beer we'd been drinking (Trader Joe's "2013 Vintage Ale", not very summery but decent).

All this was over rice (reheated from the fridge) with a bit of quick-cooking egg noodles mixed in for texture. Besides the noodles, I added variety by adding different spices to the different rounds of frying stuff. It came out pretty well -- Matthew not only liked it, but asked for hints on how I did it (which was tough, because aside from the booty from the market trips that day, this was totally Mom-style "what would go well in this?"). I had the leftovers for lunch the next day.

¹ These look like a rod of stalk, perhaps an inch and a half thick with a minimal cap. For this dish, I quartered and chopped them; later experiments have revealed that crosswise slices (that is, coin-shaped) look and cook better.

² A Mexican spice that I've been experimenting with.

³ A sweet Japanese sauce, which gives teriaki sauce its classic sweet taste and heavy texture.

#41 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:51 PM:

Xopher Halftongue #37: The Daysies can eat the blue sauce. I'll send flowers to the funeral.

What funeral? The Daysies should eat the blue sauce, it might expand their minds! (There are not many things that would turn a sauce blue, and after my last post, you can imagine why I'd think of one in particular.)

#42 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 09:42 PM:

I grew up in a family that used meat as a garnish, but I married into a family that (until the recession ate our grocery money) believed in meat meat MEAT three times a day every day. Chunks of meat, hunks of meat, platters of meat, centerpieces of meat. As you might imagine, I have had a hard time getting my husband to agree that soup is more than that thing you get through so you can say you ate something with a vegetable in it before you serve yourself a double helping of dessert as a consolation for not getting any real food for dinner.

This is the recipe that changed his mind.


Brown in a skillet in whatever cooking fat you have:

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. crosscut beef shank on clearance
1 tall can mushroom stems and pieces (unless fresh are on clearance--in that case saute 1 lb. chopped fresh mushroom caps and stems)
1 small yellow onion, minced

Put into a slow cooker. Combine in the skillet & bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the pan:

6-8 cups household broth or stock, any kind except fish or seafood
1 lb. frozen peascorncarrots'n'limas, with or without green beans
2 tablespoons ketchup (no substitutions)
1/2 tsp. celery salt, or 1/2 tsp. salt + 1 or 2 chopped celery stalks
Tarragon, thyme, and garlic powder to taste

Pour the boiling broth mixture over the contents of the slow cooker, cover, and leave all day on Low. In the middle of the afternoon, add:

1/4 cup pearl barley

Serve with sturdy bread for soaking up the broth.

#43 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 10:58 PM:

Jenny Islander@42: Variations on slow-cooked beef/mushrooms/barley are in fairly constant make-a-big-pot-and-freeze rotation in our house. The details differ, but the basic flavor is good no matter what.

On arugula/rocket: I think we must have been living in the UK when arugula became a standard part of our diet, because we still call it rocket. This sometimes causes confusion, but not enough for us to make the effort to change.

#44 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:29 PM:

Dave 41: I read your previous (40) several times and can't figure out what blue sauce ingredient you're speaking of.

I have the "blue == NOT FOOD" thing a lot stronger than most people. I won't even eat blue M&Ms. I certainly won't eat blue cheese, not if it has any visible blue bits. I can eat blueberries only if I pretend they're not actually blue ("They're called blueberries but they're actually indigo!"); if they're cooked to the point where they turn purple I'm fine (and actually I don't even like the flavor of the raw ones).

So when I think of "the blue sauce" I'm thinking of something no one should eat. Like with a toxic mold on it or something.

#45 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:38 PM:

Xopher #44: Magic mushrooms (psilocybin) also lend a blue color to anything they're cooked (etc) with.

#46 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:40 PM:

(Arguably, that counts as a "toxic mold", albeit with non-fatal effects on humans.)

#47 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:45 PM:

Ah! I've never seen the actual mushrooms. That makes sense.

#48 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:52 PM:

There are 'blue' cheeses where the fungus is actually grey. (Not that it's very blue, you understand; it's usually a grey-blue, something like a plum or a grape. Mmm, real Roquefort. Or blue Stilton.)

For an interesting dessert-type cheese, you can find Stilton with blueberries (red-violet).

#49 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:40 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @24: I had trouble with your song because my brain initially set "arugula, arugula" to "Funiculi, funicula" instead of to what you intended.

#50 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:43 AM:

Autumn is starting to hit here, so I made my first pea & ham soup for the season

50:50 mix of brown lentils and split peas
suitable chunk of smoked pig product (bacon bones, ham hock, ham bone..)

Per litre/quart of soup, add
15 whole black peppercorns
1 fresh bay leaf
4 cloves of cloves
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 cloves of garlic
no onions (that's a different soup)

Bring to the boil, then simmer until it be enough.

One of the NZ independent creameries has started selling smoked butter. Spread on dense rye bread it's just perfect with this soup. Radishes on the side.

#51 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 02:06 AM:

I find it strange that people talk about arugula / rocket being yuppie food. It was common back when I lived in New Jersey, because we had lots of Italians in the area. Okay, it's something other than iceberg, so some people are going to think it's exotic by definition, but it was a standard salad green when I was living there.

The latest green stuff I've had was from a Vietnamese grocery store, which had labeled it "bitter herd" (and my wife and I had been making jokes about goats recently, so that was another reason I had to get it.) Vietnamese name for it is Rau Dang. It looks sort of like a purslane, but has a pink flower instead of yellow, and there's some disagreement among the Vietnamese sources as to which Latin taxonomy name applies to it. Apparently the Vietnamese think it's really bitter, and mainly use it to flavor soups; it didn't seem that strong-flavored to me.

#52 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 02:09 AM:

Dave Harmon@45, I've never tried cooking with the stuff. Dried, it looks pretty much like any other dried mushroom.

Xopher - Blue cheese, yum! (My wife hates the stuff even more than Parmesan, so I don't usually have it in the house unless she's out of town.)

#53 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 02:19 AM:

Violets are said to make a lovely blue syrup.

#54 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:47 AM:

Bill Stewart@51: The latest green stuff I've had was from a Vietnamese grocery store, which had labeled it "bitter herd"

Could the Passover Seder plate could be optimized by including a shank bone from an animal from a bitter herd? (I'd suggest that it could also be bred with an affliction, but that would probably make it not kosher.)

#55 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:51 AM:

Jenny Islander@53: I don't have Xopher's issue with blue food, but violets (and lavender, and some other flowers) themselves trigger my "not food" reaction. Not quite complete revulsion, but my first reaction is always that I've just taken a bite or a sip of soap.

#56 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:52 AM:

Xopher #34: West Indian butchers cut through bone rather than along it. As a result, curry goat and other Jamaican recipes with goat meat in them have chips of bone in the meat.

#57 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 09:05 AM:

dotless ı @55, twenty years ago, an online British friend mailed me Parma Violets because I ran across a mention of the candy in British fiction and asked what it tasted like.

Hard chalky disks that taste like perfume. Entirely un-sweet.

People EAT that stuff? <wry>

(Makes me wonder what I consider a treat and others would be appalled by...)

#58 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 10:23 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @56

>> West Indian butchers cut through bone ...

I experienced that in several chicken dishes east Africa. I surmised that they were disassembling the chicken with a cleaver rather than a sharp knife.

#59 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:03 AM:

dotless i, #55: That's me with rose flavoring, plus it gets in the back of my throat and stays with me for the rest of the day. And I'm one of the 3 people in the world who doesn't like the smell of lavender as a perfume, so I avoid foods made with it as well.

Cassy, #57: Someone at the Dr. Who con in Dallas had little packets of Jelly Babies, and I got one because I was curious. My conclusion was that they are almost but not quite completely unlike Gummi Bears, and not really to my taste.

#60 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:06 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ #21:

That too, but it turns out that sour cream, caviar and onion is a really really tasty flavour mix (or, it is to me and quite a few people I know). I don't think salt-pickled cucumber has a place on that specific plate, though.

#61 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:13 AM:

I had some lotus-scented tea. It smelled like soap, to the point where I couldn't drink it. Lavender - well, I have some herbes de Provence with lavender buds, but they're not actually noticeable. Can't say that I'd want something strongly scented with either lavender or violets as food, although as an accent or just a hint, they might do very well.

#62 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:16 AM:

Cassy B @32, several vendors at my local farmers' market sell goat. One of them does a delicious goat chorizo. It's becoming more common even outside of stores catering to people from cultures where it's a traditional food.

#63 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:19 AM:

PJ Evans @27, I've had good luck with arugula on pizza, but only if I put it on after baking the pizza, so it's mostly raw and just slightly wilted from the heat of the pizza itself.

#64 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:29 AM:

Lorax @62, I'd like to try goat some time. Looks like my best bet is to go to a small (non-chain) Mexican restaurant. (I'm not a good cook, and I certainly wouldn't want to try cooking with an unfamiliar ingrediant without supervision; I'd be unlikely to do it justice.)

#65 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:30 AM:

re: salad greens

arugula = rocket = rampion = rapunzel

Have I missed this upthread?

#66 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:35 AM:

I've spit-roasted young goat and then popped cubed leftovers into a Jamaican coconut/lime curry.

It's fabulous when you can get it.

#67 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:52 AM:

Jenny Islander @53 - My parents have half a bottle of creme de violette at home. It makes a blue violet smelling kir when mixed with white wine.

#68 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:55 AM:

Cassy B. @ 64

I'm prejudiced; I prefer what I grew up with. My recommendation is to try goat at a Caribbean (preferably Jamaican or Trinidadian) restaurant, as goat curry.

#69 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:56 AM:

Flower flavors - I make rose-almond cookies for special occasions, and they're pretty much demanded for choir parties. Also have made and liked lavender-lemon shortbread and scones. Roasted potato chunks dusted with herbes de Provence were to my taste also. But, yeah, we're not all going to like the same things. The cooked bell peppers in the original recipe didn't appeal to me.

#70 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:58 AM:

Cassy @ 57: People eat marmite. And they drink Earl Grey. On *purpose*

There's nowt so queer as folk

#71 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 12:05 PM:

Ingvar M #60: That too, but it turns out that sour cream, caviar and onion is a really really tasty flavour mix

Pickled herring in cream sauce (invariably including onions) is pretty nummy too, and a lot less expensive.

#72 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:40 PM:

Lee (59): I'm one of the 3 people in the world who doesn't like the smell of lavender as a perfume

And I'm another. Do you suppose the third is also here?

I actually go waaaaay beyond "don't like". Floral fragrances* aggravate my asthma to the point that I can't breathe.

*artificial or real. A coworker's gardenia flowers almost shut down my respiratory system.

#73 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:41 PM:

I am the third. Ick. Only real flower that smells FAKE.

#74 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:52 PM:

Xopher #73: I smell a touch of "Hamlet is cliched" in there....

#75 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:54 PM:

SamChevre @68, Goat curry noted, and thank you.

Oddly for me, because I'll try practically anything, I've never had curry. I've been afraid of it because I don't like hot foods. Is there a such a thing as a mild curry? I'm ok with horseradish-hot, but capsacin-hot even in small quantities I Do Not Like.

#76 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 02:21 PM:

Cassy B. #75:

Yes, there are mild curries. There can also be incredibly strong curries that don't have a hint of heat. Most curries get their "curry" flavor from a blend of Indian spices, and it's easy to just not use hot spices in the mix.

Whether you can get mild curry dishes at a restaurant near you is a different question, but I've rarely had a problem.

Growing up, one of the common dishes my father would make is saag, a curry made mostly of fresh spinach, oils, and spices -- sort of like creamed spinach with a different flavor. I just found a recipe on line which calls for spinach, mustard greens, cumin, turmeric, garlic, butter, and 1 chili pepper. I wouldn't add the pepper myself.

#77 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 02:52 PM:

Mary Aileen, #72: I don't have actual allergies, but I'm generally not a fan of floral notes in a fragrance; this probably carries over and becomes part of my distaste for them in food. One interesting exception is jasmine -- I like it (in moderation) in fragrances and I enjoy jasmine green tea. (OTOH, one of my more notable "OMG, I will NEVER do that again!" moments involved jasmine incense.)

My most-preferred notes for fragrances are foodie scents, amber, and wood scents, in roughly that order.

Cassy, #75: Penzey's sells a variety of curries, both mild and hot, and also has suggestions for how to ease into using them.

Some restaurants also offer mild curries; this will usually be noted on the menu. If you're ever in Nashville, I strongly recommend the apple-curry sauce at Calypso Cafe, which is very mild and sweet.

#78 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 02:58 PM:

Cassy B. @ 75

As Buddha Buck notes, there are both mild curries and heavily-spiced-but-not-hot curries. (I often substitute half-sharp paprika for cayenne in Indian recipes to make the second.)

I would not put curry goat in a reasonably-authentic restaurant on either list; it is generally a fairly hot curry. (For the Jamaican version, the typical pepper is scotch bonnet--the flavor is awesome, but those are HOT.)

#79 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 03:02 PM:

Lee (77): For me, edible fragrances are okay, non-edible are a problem--not allergies as such, but repiratory issues. The only exception I've found to that general rule is that pine and other evergreen scents are okay, despite not being edible. (Okay, pine nuts are edible, but I think it's the needles that are fragrant.)

#80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 03:29 PM:

Might be worth looking into birria [de chivo]. It's Mexican goat stew.

#81 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 04:03 PM:

A couple of Farthing Parties ago, someone brought a bottle of what I think was Crème d'Yvette (a liqueur made with violet petals and berries, among other things) and I thought it was really good.

#82 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 04:06 PM:

PJ Evans @80, Birria de chivo. So noted; I really like a good stew...

#83 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 04:44 PM:

David Goldfarb @ #81: a bottle of what I think was Crème d'Yvette (a liqueur made with violet petals and berries, among other things) and I thought it was really good.

I have plans to get some of that some time when I can afford to splurge, because I came across an early-20th-century cocktail called the Aviation that calls for it, and the recipe intrigued me. It also made me realize that there was a pre-Prohibition cocktail era that tended to use liqueurs that are now hard to come by. I'd always thought of cocktails as initially having been a *result* of Prohibition (i.e. -- "what can we mix with this bootleg hooch to make it taste less awful?")

#84 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 05:31 PM:

Cassy B. @#75
Is there a such a thing as a mild curry?

Yes, you can make your own curry blend from a well stocked spice cupboard. This is one of my favorites. Shwarma: 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. You can leave the cayenne out if you want, but it does add flavor as well as capsacin style heat. I don't notice the burn at all because it's essentially 1/26th of the blend.

Another one you can try off the shelf is Garam Masala, it's mild, too. Ditto for golden curries and every green curry I've tried to date. Here's a quick pseudo-curry you can make.

Quick Chicken Curry

1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup frozen sliced carrots (you can use fresh, but it adds to the cooking time)
1/2 cup broccoli florets OR cauliflower florets
(pretty much any crunchy veggie will do as long as it stands up to simmering without turning into mush. )
1 boneless chicken breast diced into 1 inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon of the shwarma OR Garam Masala mix.
1 small can of coconut milk OR 4 oz of cream cheese melted in 2 cups of chicken stock.

Coat the chicken in the spice mix, set aside. Heat the oil and add the onion. Saute until translucent. Add the chicken to the pan and brown. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the spice mix transfers to the veggies. Add the liquid and simmer until a thick sauce forms.

#85 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 05:37 PM:

I like the garam masala mix from Spice Hunter. It's not hot (the pepper is black pepper), but it's pleasantly fragrant.

#86 ::: praisegod barebones' bracket has returned. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 06:05 PM:

Cassy B @75, Buddha Buck @76

I'm very partial to saag aloo (spinach and potato curry). Basically you

1.) Wilt and purée a bunch of spinach

2.) Cube some potatoes, and boil lightly

3.) Fry onions with garlic, turmeric, cumin and other fragrant spices of your choice (turmeric is good, ginger can be good for a bit of heat, garam masala can be very good)

4) Add potatoes, fry until coated with spice mix

5) Stir in spinach.

Eat - maybe with a flatbread. Even better warmed up the next day.

You might also want to look into kormas - they're typically very mild, and cooked with coconut milk and ground almonds (at least in the UK - given the way that recipes transmogrify when they travel, they might have started off as something very different at some point.)

#87 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 06:27 PM:

Sarah @83 - That was one of the cocktails I looked up when I discovered my parents' creme de violette, but would require me to get yet another liquor of questionable utility.

Mixed drinks have probably existed as long as people have had more than one to mix*. Queen Victoria is supposed to have enjoyed a dram of scotch whisky in her claret. In the 18th century there was a popular drink called three threads which was a mix of ale, beer and stonger beer; supposedly porter was brewed to be like this three threads. Still, I think it's fair to say that prohibition helped to popularise the cocktail, especially as a drink which seeks to disguise the flavour of the alcohol.

* Or more likely came into existence after they had two or three drinks unmixed and then came up with the plan of mixing them.

#88 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 06:45 PM:

Victoria @84; Praisegod Barebones @86, thank you for the mild curry recipes.

#89 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 07:08 PM:

Neil 87: In the 18th century there was a popular drink called three threads which was a mix of ale, beer and stonger beer; supposedly porter was brewed to be like this three threads.

So you're saying porter is a triple thread?

#90 ::: pnkrokhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 07:27 PM:

I think that the toddler would actually eat this, and I would love it. I'm putting it on the meal plan list for next week.

#91 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:26 PM:

Mary Aileen @79 - Pine needles can be made into a tea that's supposed to be high in vitamin C. It tastes horrible. The inner bark of pines has been used for food during famines. I would guess it's pretty bad too.

Anyone else recall the commercial - Grape Nuts maybe? - wherein Euell Gibbons informed us that "Many parts of a pine tree are edible"?

#92 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:36 PM:

I've heard that spruce bark works, but I have no intention of finding out.

#93 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:38 PM:

Thread-title recipe made and eaten, although I didn't put in arugula. (I had some collard greens waiting, but the pot was full and I was hungry so I called it dinner.) Was good.

A couple of weeks ago I made a nice green Thai-style curry out of a lot of shallots, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and a big bunch of cilantro. Puree, throw in with a can of coconut milk, boil, add potatoes or whatever. Add a lot of chopped basil when it's almost done.

And if you want a high-flavor non-spicy curry, I expect the chili peppers could be omitted.

(If you're cilantro-negative, I'm not sure where to go with it.)

#94 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:49 PM:

Anne Sheller (91): Thanks for the information. I guess what I really mean by 'edible' in this context is what I dubbed 'eatable' as a kid. More 'palatable' than 'not actually poisonous'.

#95 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 09:53 PM:

Anne Sheller @ #91, leading to an awesome spoof on the Carol Burnett Show (at about 4:05).

#96 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 05:39 AM:

Dave Harmon @ #71:

If you have a nearby IKEA, there's some pretty decent (although not sturgeon) caviar in the Swedish Store. Seems it's labelled "Herring Roe" and vends at USD 1.99 (+ tax I guess).

I actually prefer it to the Russian stuff, but on the other hand it is what I grew up with.

But the pickled herring is pretty good stuff, too. It's just atht I can't eat huge quantities of it before going "I have had my fill for now, thanks".

#97 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 05:42 AM:

Mary Aileen @ #94:

I've been known to take young segments of needle+branch off of spruces and chew on them while hiking in Swedish forests. Tastes OK-ish, weird mouth feel though. The old needles are too tough to chew and have less flavour.

Pine and spruce resin can also be used as ersatz chewing gum when out and about. But, again, unless you have a real need for a chewing gum and find yourself unable to get back to civilization before your craving must be fulfilled, it's probably better to just carry a spare pack of gum.

The things survival training teach you, eh.

#98 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 09:07 AM:

In New England, pre- amd somewhat post-Revolution, alcoholic spruce beer and birch beer were a thing.

I've had non-alcoholic birch beer; it's a lot like sarsparilla and root beer. The Sioux City soda company makes it; I don't know if they do a spruce beer or not, although that sounds like something the Jones Soda people could look into, given some of their other flavors.

I have a meringue cookie recipe (I think from Garden and Gun, although I won't swear to that) which has pine needles ground up with the sugar.

#99 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 10:32 AM:

Ingvar M (97)/fidelio (98): I am enlightened. I had previously heard of spruce gum and spruce beer. But somehow they still don't put evergreen fragrances into the "edible" column for me. Classifications are weird.

#100 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 11:00 AM:

fidelio @98, alcoholic spruce beer is once again becoming available, as part of the "let's try putting $INGREDIENT into our craft beer" movement. Some varieties of hops are rather piney so it may not be as weird as it seems at first glance. See, for instance, this example which claims to be based on Ben Franklin's recipe. I'd try a taste of one, but I'm not about to go out and get a six-pack.

#101 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:23 PM:

Xopher @89 - ...actually I was pretty tired last night and can't remember what my point was.

#102 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:52 PM:

In the event that someone has a Virginia pine tree (Pinus virginiana, AKA Jersey pine, scrub pine) and an earnest desire to eat part of it, in the manner of Euell Gibbons, here you are: meringues with pine needles. According to the writer, the needles have a grapefuit-like aroma, and are high in Vitamin C.

Bark bread at Wikipedia; many of the sources are Scandinavian.

#103 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:54 PM:

Neil 101: Since I was only posting to make the pun, no problem!

#104 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 03:23 PM:

Made this last night (recipe is from the current issue of Saveur):

Wang Choy Chow Sau (Braised Pork Belly)


1 (3-lb.) piece boneless, skin-on pork belly
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 tsp. ground cloves
1½ tsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. ground fennel
5 whole star anise
4 bay leaves
3 sticks cinnamon
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup light soy sauce
3 tbsp. dark soy sauce
⅓ cup sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
4 cups baby spinach
Tender sprigs cilantro, julienned carrot, red bell pepper, and scallion, for garnish (optional)
Cooked white rice, for serving

Bring an 8-qt. saucepan of water to a boil; cook pork belly 5 minutes, then drain and cut in half crosswise. Add oil to pan; heat over medium-high heat. Cook onion and ginger until soft, 3–4 minutes. Add cloves, cumin, fennel, star anise, bay leaves, and cinnamon; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add reserved pork, the stock, soy sauces, and sugar; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until pork is very tender when pierced with a knife, about 1½ hours. Transfer pork to a serving platter; keep warm. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and thickened, 18–20 minutes; spoon sauce over pork.

Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook spinach until wilted, 1–2 minutes, then drain and squeeze dry; arrange around pork. Garnish with cilantro, carrot, pepper, and scallion if you like; serve with rice on the side.

#105 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 03:26 PM:

I cut the recipe to 1/3 size since there were only two of us and I only had a pound of pork belly in the freezer anyway. Worked fine.

#106 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 05:46 PM:

Lila @95 - Alas, I'm on dial-up. Videos take approximately forever to load. Thanks anyway.

#107 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:44 PM:

Huh - Well, my post about mild curry seems to have gotten caught in the spam filter, and I've been busy. If someone could feed the gnomes the leftovers...

Cassie @ 75 I make more mild curries than my partner is happy with - he keeps adding red pepper flakes.

#108 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 08:35 PM:

Sisuile @107, looks like an excellent compromise to me; make it to the milder person's taste, doctor it up for the spicier person.

I dislike alcohol, so for me a wine sauce has to be cooked for quite a while before serving (to cut down on the bitterness). My husband simply dashes a little extra wine into his portion, and we're both happy....

#109 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 10:19 PM:

I just made this:


You will need 4 to 5 cups leftover starchy food, such as plain rice (brown, white, wild), small pasta shapes (shells, macaroni, wheels), or diced boiled or baked potato with or without skin. Feel free to use more than one type. You will also need 3/4 cup shaker cheese, 6 oz. grated melty cheese, 2 cups bechamel (easy on the salt) or a low-sodium condensed cream soup diluted to that volume, a little butter or oil, and optionally up to 1 1/2 cups diced leftover meat and/or vegetables.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Use the butter or oil to grease a 9x9 casserole; set aside. Also set aside a little of the bechamel and mix just over half of your shaker cheese into the rest of it.

Now decide how you are going to layer your ingredients. Here are some examples:

*Mix cheesy bechamel with 3 cups rice and some diced turkey, put into casserole, spread 2 cups parboiled diced potatoes on top, spread with reserved bechamel, cover with melty cheese, and top with remaining shaker cheese.

*Mix cheesy bechamel with 5 cups rice and some diced leftover broccoli, put half in casserole, put melty cheese on top, cover with remaining rice, spread with plain bechamel, and cover with remaining shaker cheese.

*Stir cheesy bechamel into 5 cups leftover pasta, put half in casserole, put 1 1/2 cups cubed ham on top, cover with remaining pasta, then spread with plain bechamel and top with remaining cheeses.

Whatever you decide to do, always put plain bechamel on top so that you don't get a dry and crusty top layer of starch ingredient.

Bake at least 15 minutes, until bubbly and browned to taste. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.

#110 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:13 AM:

Theophylact #104:

Silly question, but where should I be looking for pork belly?

#111 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:15 AM:

Jenny Islander #109:

Agreed, cheese on top, but then add butter dots and then bread crumbs for that umami crunchy effect. (Probably what the fried onion rings do in That Casserole Dish.)

#112 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:53 AM:

It ought to be in the meat department, near the bacon. (I'll look for it at mine tomorrow.)

#113 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:07 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 109

I cannot read that post without thinking of this one; one of my many favorite Making Light posts.

#114 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:36 PM:

@Joann no. 111: Agreed, but nobody else in this house likes a nice crumb topping. Cheese, please, the browner the better.

Speaking of crumbs, this casserole can be made entirely with whole grains, even the bechamel.

#115 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:33 PM:

Sarah@83: On the Aviation: my current favorite book for reading about cocktails is David Wondrich's Imbibe!. It's more of a history with recipes than a recipe book. Wondrich's section on the Aviation gives something more like the "original" version listed at the link above, and the commentary that follows includes a similar complaint: that more than a tiny amount of crème de violette makes the drink taste like hand soap. We make the drink occasionally, but really use just enough crème de violette to get the color. On the other hand, it's never become one of our standards.

praisegod barebones@86: On korma: a few years back I got a detailed description of a classic korma (details unfortunately now forgotten, other than featuring black pepper and some dry cooking of spices) from a coworker of Pakistani descent, together with a comment/complaint that "korma" had become one of those dishes that any Indian restaurant in London basically had to offer, and that what had to be offered was a very creamy dish with little similarity to the classic. About two days later friends in London took me to their favorite Indian restaurant (which, unfortunately, I've now also forgotten) and I saw that it had two different kormas on the menu: one matched the "pint of cream" version every restaurant has, and the other matched my coworkers description, thus addressing both audiences. (Under the circumstances, I had to try the latter, which was delicious.)

#116 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 04:01 PM:

joann @ #110: You can almost always find it in the meat department of a Chinese or Korean supermarket (both are available in the DC suburbs). We also can get it from local suppliers at farmers markets if we order in advance, or at (say) the Bethesda Central Farm Market on Sunday.

#117 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 07:31 PM:

P J Evans #112

I'll check the local Store of Fancy Resort and report back after Tuesday. Thing is, I keep spending so much time trying to find the right bacon that I think I would have noticed something like pork belly right next to it. (And can't ever remember seeing it at their butcher section.)

#118 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 08:04 PM:

Well, I forgot to look, so I think we're even, But it should show up in the meat department, especially if you have a somewhat-ethnic section. (A store that sells lard-in-buckets (Spanish: manteca) or pigs' ears and tails would almost certainly have pork belly.)

#119 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 10:11 PM:

joann, #117: Look for it at Fiesta Mart, of which there appear to be two in the Austin area. We have them all over Houston, and they're the go-to for blue-collar Mexican food ingredients.

#120 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 11:44 AM:

Lee #119 (and PJ at #118 by extension):

Fiesta occurred to me right as I was reading #118! The I-35 one is about a mile away. My only concern with them is that if I were to find such at Central Market, I'd be a little happier about probable organic content. IYSWIM.

#121 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 03:25 PM:

That is a problem. If I can get it from a farmers market, it at least won't be a Smithfield product.

#122 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 03:35 PM:

Off topic, but Patrick's sidelight made me think immediately of James E. Gunn's "New Blood" (the first part of The Immortals) when I read it in the New York Times.

#123 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 03:38 PM:

Maybe more of an Open Thread comment, that? That's where the conversation on linkblog links tends to thrive.

#124 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 09:00 PM:

Re: goat meat. In Southern California, I've seen it mostly at hightly-ethnic Mexican, Latin-Amrican, Carribean, Chinese, & Halal markets -- most often as frozen legs. Note that goats aren't meaty animals, so a whole leg-quarter isn't ridiculous. As one might well figure, those butchered are mostly young bucks (or even male kids (the term for which I'll look up RSN), which might be rather strong-tasting, or aged does past milk-producing and extremely tough. Good luck in getting the butcher to tell you, in a language you can understand, what you're getting.

#125 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 10:06 PM:

Theophylact #121: Allowing for the standard disclaimers about Wikipedia, that article seems to indicate that the company had a lot of problems from 1997 on, but also was responding to them and taking measures to correct them. Of course, the purchase by a Chinese company represents a wildcard there.

#126 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 02:39 AM:

BBC reports a warehouse fire in Sweden. The warehouse formerly contained 1000 tins of surstromming, many of which have now exploded. "The firefighters were surprised."
Fortunately, the four people living above the warehouse were unharmed, and it was a few hundred km away from Stockholm, so no major population centers were endangered.

#127 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 03:45 AM:

Turkeys that are not too big to manage by myself are getting to be cheap and frequently available here, so I have set myself a new goal: one meal per whoel pound of bird, counting the broth I get from the carcass as one pound. In that spirit, I present:


(This recipe fills a 5-quart slow cooker and freezes well. Reduce if necessary.)

Soak 1 pound dry white beans. Dice the easily removed dark meat from 1 after-dinner roast turkey weighing no more than 12 pounds; set aside.

Drain and rinse the soaked beans in the morning; put into your slow cooker, add water to cover 1 knuckle deep, and set on High.

Later that day, chop enough onions and/or sweet peppers to thickly cover the bottom of a 10-inch skillet; saute in olive oil until no longer crisp, mince 2 cloves garlic or measure 2 teaspoons powder, throw in the garlic along with 2 tablespoons green taco sauce of choice and 1 tablespoon cumin, and stir until fragrant. Ladle bean broth out of the cooker into the skillet, bring to a boil, and pour back into the slow cooker. Add the diced turkey. Turn to Low and leave until dinnertime; adjust the salt and heat and serve with plain yogurt or sour cream and some freshly made cornbread.

Variations: Wait until the beans are tender to add the sauteed vegetables and seasonings. First ladle out as much bean broth as you can and discard it or reserve for another use; then dump the skillet into the nearly-dry beans. Serve over rice or with scoop-shaped corn chips. Or, follow the original recipe, take out some beans, mash, and return to the chili.

My cow-devouring husband thinks this is pretty good.

#128 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 07:30 PM:

Re: Korma. I was pleased to discover, in a smallish strip-mall here in Covina, a small Indian food store & restaurant -- Sikh, and vegetarian, in the tradition of "It's Good to Feed People, and this cuisine doesn't offend anyone", as far as the cooked food they serve, but with "boil & serve" packets of many "made in India" foods, including Kormas. The ones I've tried so far have been not-too-hot (I generally pick ones that mention "Northern India', on the theory that the farther south you get, the hotter), and delicious. Mind you, I was born in Toledo, Ohio, and my mother was of Swiss-German extraction and debated seriously about including five or six peppercorns in the Hasenpfeffer -- so I Don't Do heavy spices or chili-pepper. *sigh*

I find that most curries, like most chilies, work fine and are greatly appetizing if I place a small-enough portion of them on a large-enough bowl of rice. (For the chili, it can (for my taste) best be mixed into a large bowl of several kinds of beans.)

OTOH, as a Certified Old Geezer... I moved to Covina c. 1955, when there were a few grandfathered-in Hispanic families and the one Black one (he washed cars for the Clippinger Chevrolet agency), and one Chinese restaurant (there had been two in Toledo). Possibly also two Italian places, one of which made pizza, but I don't think there were any "Mexican" restaurants, and certainly no "Soul-Food" ones. Now... Wow! There are at least a dozen sushi-ya in the neighborhood, which I find rather astonishing because there used to be one in Los Angeles's Little Tokyo, and two out in Gardena.  Period. 

Okay, I still think the world, & America, are going to Hell in a handbasket, but in some respects things are enormously better than they used to be. Yeah, I still have to drive into L.A. for Ethiopean, or Minority-Ethnic Indian ("Balti", and "Paki", common in the U.K., are rare here, and Balti, expecially, has mild curries that I can enjoy enormously). My impression is that "garam masala" means something like "mixed spices" and I think Rob Hansen (of all the people I know) would be a pretty good Guru in this area.

#129 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 10:33 AM:

Don Fitch @128:

The ones I've tried so far have been not-too-hot (I generally pick ones that mention "Northern India', on the theory that the farther south you get, the hotter)

That hasn't generally been my experience. I think of the most characteristic South Indian dishes, at least that you'll find at South Indian restaurants in the US, as being quite mild - things like dosas or idli. (There's a great South Indian place in Artesia called Woodlands - they do have some North Indian standards on the menu as well but they aren't as good.) I have the impression it's mostly Tamil, but I'm not sure of that.

There's actually a lot of overlap in Pakistani food vs Indian food, not surprisingly, and since Punjabi food (a strong area of overlap) tends to be very common in US Indian restaurants, in my experience the use of beef is the main way to distinguish whether the restaurant is being run by Muslims or Hindus, to the extent that that maps to Pakistani vs. Indian.

#130 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 11:20 AM:

Mmm. Marcia and I like hot. Last night we had a Sichuan asparagus salad with 7 cloves of raw garlic, an inch of ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of hot pepper flakes in oil, along with Sichuan peppercorns, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar -- all for under a pound of asparagus. (Recipe is from Mrs. Chiang's Szechuan Cookbook; we've worn out two copies over the years.)

Even so, some food is too hot for us; I've had Burmese dishes that were over the top Scoville-wise. Still, we buy a lot of hot peppers and hot sauces. I order both Melinda's XXXXTra Hot Habanero Sauce and Marie Sharp's Hot Habanero sauce by the 12-bottle case, and a case lasts well under a year.

Even black pepper gets a lot of use, because our favorite grilled chicken has a marinade of 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of coarsely pounded black pepper (Penzey's Whole Special Extra Bold Indian Black Peppercorns, which we buy by the pound). The recipe is from Marcella Hazan. We had half a grilled chicken left over from Sunday and had it with the asparagus salad.

#131 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 11:34 AM:

Gpat reminds me - I have seen it written that you cannot get genuine mutton in America. It's actually unlawful to sell it, it is said.

If that is the case, may I say that you have my profound condolences. It is true that it has to be treated with care, but for unctuous spicy dishes cooked very slowly, often with yoghurt and lemon, there is nothing like it. While the saddle or leg, if lean and properly hung, makes a glorious roast. Don't forget the redcurrant jelly!

#132 ::: Lloyd Burchill ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 11:34 AM:

If you have an interest in homemade pizza and the patience for homemade doro wat, there's good news! Scatter dabs of doro wat on the pizza before baking. The result is sensational.

#133 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 11:55 AM:

Dave Luckett@131: I don't think it's illegal, but it's definitely uncommon to get mutton suitable for the sort of hanging and slow cooking you're talking about. (On the other hand, I've seen fairly large animals sold as "lamb" in the States, which makes me suspect that the cutoff age isn't as clear as it might be. We get lamb from a local source and routinely need to adjust recipes to account for the fact that we're getting younger, smaller animals than the recipes expect.)

#134 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 11:56 AM:

Dave Luckett @ #131: It's not true. I know a place on the Eastern Shore that sells it. Unfortunately, essentially all his mutton is already allocated to top-end restaurants.

#135 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 03:25 PM:

re 98: Roy Rogers does birch beer around here instead of root beer. I get the impression that birch beer is a Penn. Dutch thing.

#136 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 03:30 PM:

Dave Luckett @131--That's not true; the problem is that we do not, in this day and age in the US, raise many sheep compared to the number of other meat animals raised, and mutton of any age tends to be a regional or special-season thing--the last time I saw lamb at the local Kroger was Easter, and the last time I saw lamb there before that was Easter a year ago. On the other hand, there are places where mutton is consumed often--Owensboro, Kentucky is notorious for adding mutton to the menu of Meat You Can Barbecue*. You'll also see it in the southwestern US.

On the other hand, much of the lamb you do see is not in fact young lamb, but can be as much as a year old, and so is really more like teenaged mutton--not as strongly flavored as older mutton, but a bigger animal than my grandparents would have associated with the term "lamb".

*Barbecue is used here in the narrow technical sense of meat cooked slowly over hardwood coals (or charcoal, every so often, in a pinch) and not in the sense of "food cooked outdoors on the grill", which is heresy, but I can't stop you from saying and writing it.

#137 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 06:53 PM:

There's a barbecue place that's an inconvenient hour's drive away--worse if it's at the wrong time of day--and we still go there at least once a year. Not because of their World Famous Sausage, which is nice enough, but because it's the only place we've found that offers barbecue mutton. Slow-cooked over hardwood coals, in fidelio's sense of "barbecue", not grilled or what not. It is greasy and strong-flavored and absolutely heavenly.

I'm quite fond of lamb, but it's so expensive at the grocery store that I hardly ever bother. But that barbecued mutton? My god. Worth the trip, and then some.

#138 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 07:40 PM:

Dave @131
I can get mutton at the local Farmer's Market, and do. I usually get ground mutton and use it for curry, but I've been known to splurge on a large chunk to cut up for stew for special occasions. The same vendor also has sheepskins with the wool still on.

#139 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 09:06 PM:

I don't think I've ever seen mutton at Krogers. Jungle Jim's in the Cincinnati area may carry it, but then the only thing I've looked for and not found there is dulse. Lamb is a rarity locally; lamb I can afford even more so. I hated both lamb and turnips as a child, but now I like them together in a stew. Onions, carrots, large quantities of garlic and cumin, barley, whatever broth I have on hand - next time I find any cheap lamb I'm going to have to fire up the crockpot.

#140 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 02:53 AM:

Oh, all this talk about food has solidified my Sunday plans. At some point of the day, I will trace down an Argentinian restaurant in Amsterdam and have me a chunk of meat, with sauce and probably one or maybe two kinds of potato dish.

This week has, so far, been an adventure in public speaking and travelling in Sweden (Uppsala Monday, Stockholm yesterday, Linköping later today, Lund on Thursday and Gothenburg on Friday) but nothing truly exciting, foodwise. I guess the Fish Wallenberg Monday was curious and quite edible, but I know not what went into making it.

#141 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 03:55 AM:

I have a strong and completely unjustified prejudice against heavy cream in pasta dishes. Cheese, yes, eggs, yes, oil, by all means, but no cream. The only thing I can say in my defence is that the Italians aren't terribly keen on cream in pasta dishes either.

#142 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 10:05 AM:

While I'm here, I might as well pass on an old and wonderful recipe for crab cakes, from the late lamented Gourmet. It's the best I've had anywhere, at home or abroad. Marcia made them for the two of us on Sunday and we had the leftovers as sandwiches yesterday.

#143 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 03:46 PM:

Fade #137:

Lamb shoulder chops are not grossly expensive; I cut one up and made an amazing stir-fry from that, an eggplant, an onion, some olive oil and two years ago's home-grown marjoram last week. They're also got for hot pot in the winter: cook with potatoes and onions and then make a gravy before serving (use kneaded butter and a bit of beef broth).

Elgin? Taylor? Somebody else?

#144 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 03:50 PM:

Josh Berkus #141:

I think I'd better counter with Alfredo sauce. Cream plus egg plus ... And at least one tomato-based sauce with cream.

#145 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 03:57 PM:

My interim report on the pork belly situation, by joann aged never-mind-what: None to be had either in the packaged section of CM nor the HEB, ditto. Didn't get a chance to check the butcher section at CM as spouse was doing that bit while I was having a lively discussion with the fish guy.

It occurs to me that I probably should check a couple of high-end butchers/charcutiers in town, as it's definitely an item in a couple of upscale places we like (Fino, Salty Sow), and as I regard Fiesta as a last resort for reasons expressed earlier.

#146 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 06:41 PM:

Talk of cream sauces dredges up an unpleasant memory.

Background: My grandmother ran an Italian restaurant. She and her mother-in-law were wonderful cooks. They could make gnocchi and ravioli and meat sauces and chicken cattchatori (sp) that were to die for.

My mother and aunts of course learned how to cook from them.

There was one dish from this tradition that I really didn't care for: Pasta con pesto. This was pasta with a sauce of pesto and (BARE WITH ME OK?) what seemed like an entire bar of cream cheese. A thick, unpleasantly rich plaster that made it hard to eat. "Put butter on it!" was the reply if anyone complained that it was hard to get on a fork. This was before microwaves, so this meant trying to work hard better into the cooling mass of green sludge your spaghetti was embedded in.

Fast forward through decades of eating this stuff. I'm reading a book by Brian Herbert which contains a description of pasta con pesto! The "sauce" in this version was pesto, grated cheese, olive oil and pine nuts.

I report this to the family, and am attacked as disloyal and a troublemaker ("WHAT WOULD HE KNOW?").

Years later, people in the extended family begin trying this new "lighter" version of pasta con pesto they'd heard about. "It's how they eat it in Italy! Just grated cheese and olive oil!"

Imagine that.

No one remembers me having described this variation, much less apologizes.

#147 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 08:36 PM:

joann @144:

That's maybe not the best counterexample you could have chosen. The original fettuccine Alfredo recipe does not involve cream (and I've never heard of one including egg - are you maybe thinking of carbonara?), just butter and parmesan. (See this Saveur article.) That's not to say there aren't authentic Italian pasta dishes that include cream (I found a couple flipping through my copy of Marcella Hazan, one involving peas and prosciutto, the other asparagus), nor that fettuccine Alfredo is by any stretch of the imagination healthy, just that the original version doesn't include cream.

#148 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 10:46 AM:

joann @143: Elgin! I hate the drive, and haven't been there since the household became one with exactly one driver (me), but I'm going to suck it up and head there again soon anyway, because MY GOD their mutton. Mmm.

My opinion on lamb prices is somewhat weighted by 1) growing up in a country with different food prices, and 2) having "how much do I spend on food" be the only place where I could effectively economize for several years. So I side-eye any meat that costs more than $3.50 a pound.

#149 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 11:43 AM:

joann @ #145: I never see pork belly in the packaged meat area; it's always at the butcher counter if it's anywhere.

#150 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 07:35 PM:

Off-topic: I don't suppose there's any chance you might repost the pair of "how to deal with a giant monster" posts that James McDonald wrote when Cloverfield came out, so one can bone up in time for Godzilla, is there?

#151 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 08:06 PM:

Fred, here is at least one of them.

#152 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 10:07 PM:

Fred@150, to bring it back onto topic, I'd recommend garlic, and industrial quantities of tomato sauce, initial searing at 7000 degrees followed by simmering for long enough to let the radioactivity settle down.

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